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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Declaration by Pleasant Henderson concerning his military service in the Revolutionary War
Henderson, Pleasant, 1756-1840
Volume 22, Pages 128-131


He was residing in September, 1832, in Huntingdon, Carroll County, Tenn., and stated that he was born in Granville County, N. C., January 9th, 1756, and lived in N. C., until May 21st, 1830 when he removed from Chapel Hill in Orange County, the seat of the University of N. C., to Tenn., where he arrived July 7th following, and since that period continued to live in Carroll County, Tenn. Early in 1776 he volunteered in his native state, at the time the militia was called to suppress an insurrection or assemblage of Tories at Cross Creek near Fayetteville, with intention to join Josiah Martin, the Colonial Governor who had taken refuge on board a small naval vessel stationed at the mouth of Cape Fear river, in the County of Brunswick. The volunteer companies were promptly raised in Granville County, one commanded by Cuthbert Hudson, the other by

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Thomas Satterwhite, of at least 75 men each. To the latter Henderson was attached as Sergeant Major and both marched to Hillsboro (probably, though blotted) to join the volunteers of Orange county, from thence going to Cross Creek, under the command, he thinks, of Colonel John Butler, afterwards General Butler, where they joined a Company of Continental Troops commanded by Capt. Robert Rowan. The next, or the succeeding day, a considerable force from the more western Counties arrived under the command of Alexander Martin of the Continental line. As the Tories had been defeated a day or two before Henderson arrived at Moore’s Creek bridge (February 27th, 1776) he did not remain longer than was necessary to make prisoners of as many Tories as was possible, but returned, with others, to their respective homes—absent one or two months. In the latter part of summer or Fall of 1778 a brigade of Militia was ordered to be raised and sent to the aid of S. C. and Georgia, to serve six months after being mustered at Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and Henderson volunteered and was appointed Lieutenant in the Company of Capt. Richard Taylor, of Granville County, in the regiment of Colonel James Landis.

At Hillsboro, on his march to Charlotte, the company joined some troops of the line, going leisurely to the point of rendezvous, collecting drafts, volunteers, carriages, provisions, etc. At Charlotte were a good many officers of the line, among whom was Colonel Dixon, Colonel Lyttle, Major Nelson and others. From thence marched to Charleston, arriving in the vicinity about the middle of December, and a few days thereafter General Lincoln came as commandant of the Southern Department. About Christmas intelligence was received that the British had landed at Savannah, defeated the troops there and were in possession of the town (December 29th, 1778). He was immediately ordered to Purysburg on the S. C. side of the Savannah river, about 20 miles above Savannah, where they joined the remains of the defeated army from the latter place and he became acquainted with Colonel Roberts of the Artillery, Colonel Mason, Capt. Doggett, who afterwards was killed in the battle of Stono (June 20th, 1779) and where also he met his brother William Henderson, Colonel or Lt. Colonel of, perhaps, the 3rd Regiment of the S. C. line, the same who was subsequently a General and wounded at Eutaw Springs (Sept. 8th, 1781). Soon after the arrival of the troops at the

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encampment, General Lincoln arrived and established his headquarters in the town. His principal aid was believed to be Edward Everett, of Virginia.

General Lincoln ordered a corps of Light Infantry to be organized, consisting of one Company of Regulars and three of Militia from the N. C. Brigade, with the command to Col. Lytle and Major Nelson. The Militia Companies were promptly filled from the brigade by volunteers and Henderson was assigned as Lieutenant in one of the Companies, commanded by Capt. Jameison. In a few days it was ordered to Augusta on the S. C. side of the river, with all possible dispatch as the British were pushing up a detachment on the Georgia side of the river. This march of 100 miles was performed in four days, taking possession of a Bluff, on the S. C. side, called Fort Moore Bluff. The following morning the enemy arrived and took possession of Augusta. In a week or two General Ashe with reinforcements also arrived from North Carolina and as Senior officer assumed the command. It was not long before the British evacuated Augusta and as quickly as possible the troops crossed the river in pursuit until intercepted by the destruction of the bridge at Brier Creek, which also prevented the junction with a strong detachment under General Rutherford, for the want of boats. Before it could be effected the enemy being reinforced from Savannah returned by a circuitous route and surprised General Ashe with an easy victory. Major Henderson was not in the battle, for the day after the arrival of the army at the bridge, he was selected and sent by General Ashe to Purysburg, General Lincoln’s Headquarters, with a verbal communication, as to the wants and condition of his army. The intermediate country being so infested by Tories that a communication in writing was unsafe and impolitic. The battle of Brier Creek was March 3rd, 1779. The army retreated to General Rutherford’s Station, the Twin Sisters Ferry, and remained in a great measure inactive until the expiration of its term of service about the last of April. “Henderson was appointed Paymaster of Colonel Sanders’ (or Landis) regiment in which he was an officer as aforesaid.”

His third and last tour of duty was in 1761. In consequence of Lord Cornwallis entering the State of N. C. in pursuit of the prisoners taken at the Battle at Cowpens (January 17th, 1781), the Legislature or the Governor ordered a regiment of 200 mounted infantry to be raised and gave the command to Colonel Malmedy, a Frenchman

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(though Henderson believed he was a Colonel on the Continental establishment), who appointed him, unsolicited, Major. The troops were embodied about the time Lord Cornwallis was at Hillsboro, N. C., and General Greene to the Northward, near the Va. line. The regiment did not join General Greene until two days after the battle at Guilford (March 15th, 1781). Several counties south of Hillsboro were proverbial for the Toryism of their inhabitants and General Greene in order to prevent their joining the British army, directed its march into the disaffected Counties, there to manouvre in the best manner to intimidate the people and prevent them from strengthening the British Army. The regiment joined General Greene at the Iron Works in Guilford County to which he had retreated after the battle at Guilford, and in a few hours it was ordered back to its former ground and did not join the General again until the day after he reached Ramsay’s Mills in Chatham County. He detached it the same evening to Wilmington, a point to which it was believed, Lord Cornwallis was retreating, where, and in the vicinity, the regiment remained until their service expired. The only skirmish the regiment had with the enemy was at Ramsay’s Mills when a party of horse attacked, as the regiment made a charge on a picket guard not many yards from the quarters of Lord Cornwallis. Had it not been from the circumstance that the guard was surrounded by a strong fence that the horse could not break over the whole ground, a Captain would have been sabered. As it was it resulted in killing two of the advanced sentinels and capturing two. Henderson was ordered by Colonel Malmedy to cover the retreat of the horse and consequently could not lead in the charge. A letter on file states he died about December 10th, 1846.